In the grassy foothills of the South Downs to the north of Brighton, west of the University of Sussex lies Stanmer Park, which gets its name from “Stoney Mere,” meaning “stones around the village pond” – Could this be an early derivative of a gravel racing? Whilst pondering that, you should sign yourself up for the now traditional start of the LDN and SE Cyclocross League, which now incorporates the first round of The Sussex League.
This is a course for anyone with a decent set of road racing legs as it favours the stronger, powerful riders. A lack of technicality means that it’s the perfect place to reinvigorate your ‘cross skills for the rest of the season – a perfect race to blow the cobwebs away. Equally if you’re new to ‘cross there’s plenty of space for everyone to race and the best bit about ‘cross is that whatever speed you’re racing at, you’ll have some great close battles, perfect for beginners and old-hands alike. Use the postcode BN1 9SE for Sat Nav directions and click here to Enter.
In the shadow of the Crystal Palace Transmitting Station sits the Victorian park that hosted the World Champs in 1973. Norwood Ridge provides plenty of fast paced short climbs between the various terraces and from the steps at the top of the park you’ll get a great view of all of the racing.
Last year saw the ‘cross first race at Palace since the 80’s but it was one to remember and lots of people commented that it was one of their favourites so we’re glad it’s back for 2019! There was fast off-camber corners, flat windy power sections and tricky climbs. Enter by clicking on this text and on the day please enter the car park from Anerley Hill.
One of the classic “London League” courses, which takes place on the rocky, wooded slopes of South London, just outside Croydon on Featherbed Lane, CR0 9AA. The course at Frylands Scout Camp features a couple of killer climbs and the often testing conditions reward mountain bike skills. It’s a great place for a roadie or a newbie to improve their skill on fast paced, loose downhill’s.
For the first few years, the course claimed many a rear mech but Sutton CC have done an outstanding job in recent years to prepare the course, which has given every rider a fair chance of a mechanical free race. Snow and/or rain in previous years have played its part but the race has moved forward in the calendar this year and you can Enter by clicking on this text. The loose, rocky downhill’s will require some precise tyre pressures to ensure optimum grip versus flat protection – how low can you go?
Kent’s most beautiful castle (according to the organiser and Edward 1), is within sight of one of the most beautiful races of the year (according to us). Leeds Castle is surely one of the key races on the LDN and SE cyclocross calendar and this year’s edition promises to even better! The castle and village get their name from the Saxon chief Led who called the place home in 857 and has since been home to 3 kings, 2 knights and a queen – all of which would have surely supported Charles Codrington and Dulwich Paragon who are organising the race again this year.
Charles has the following to say; “From the energy sapping uphill drag that is “The Joust”, the fast and flowing “Zip Wire descent” to the gruelling grovel that is “The Wall”, there’s something for everyone (even a maze). Homemade barbequed burgers and hot dogs, beer tent and marching band will all be on hand too this year!”
The course is NOT accessible from the main Castle entrance. From Junc 9 of the M20, follow the brown signs to Leeds Castle, drive past the main entrance following the blue arrows, continue along the B2163 for a further 500 yds before taking the 1st left on Burberry Lane. Entrance to the event is 300 yds on the left.
It’ll be our second time at East Bysshe Equestrian Centre, hosted by Addiscombe CC, near Newchapel. The cyclocross course takes in part of the cross-country route, minus the fences of course. Well, minus most of them anyway – last year we were treated to some great hurdling on the predominately flat grassy course!
The course is largely run on grassland, but there is gravel, woodchip, oh, and of course mud. The undulating and winding woodland section should provide a change in pace and style before the charge to the line – after negotiating the “steps” that is. There will be catering on site and the address for Sat Navs is RH7 6LF. The venue is on the A22, just north of the “Mormon Temple“ roundabout. The road is busy, so please take care turning in and out of the venue
What can you say about Herne Hill that hasn’t already been said – the venue has cyclocross running through its veins, despite the obvious track credentials. Built in 1891, the venue hosted the track events in the 1948 Olympics, largely due to the fact that many other tracks had been damaged in the war. In 1952 John Dennis (not that one), successfully managed the venue attracting many big names for the Good Friday track meet, but eventually the grandstand and track fell into a state of disrepair, before in 2000, a group fought to save the velodrome and were eventually successful in regenerating the venue into the fantastic venue we enjoy today.
This is about the time that cyclocross really took off in the UK and Herne Hill became a very important venue for it’s growth. We started with races of 20-30 people and now have up to 400 riders throughout the day! The singletracks that loop in and out of the velodrome form the perfect battle ground for closely fought contests. It’s very important that everyone is kind to one another at Herne Hill especially when overtaking, but we love it so much and it would be hard to race a LDN and SE series without our flagship venue! As John always says, “be nice to one another and respect the tape”!
The Velodrome is in a concealed entrance in Burbage Road. 104 Burbage Road Herne Hill London SE24 9HE. Parking is limited in the venue but street parking is plentiful.
Hosted by Preston Park Youth for the second year, Preston Park was a brilliant race last year – so good that even World Champion Ben Tullett turned up to race! Known for its Crit series the 63 acre park also boasts enough space for our cross race. The U10/U12 course will stay inside the Velodrome area, which is the oldest velodrome in the world! Parking is very limited in the surrounding areas so set your Sat Nav for BN1 6LA, get as close as you can and then ride the last bit! Sign up here!
This venue has all of the bravado of Herne Hill, with a slightly more laid back atmosphere – the circuit infield is a maze of tape whilst the course then snakes around the beautiful old parkland and even makes use of some typically local sandy clay. The flint walls of the velodrome are the perfect backdrop to the 2nd round of the Sussex League this year.
Host of the 2018/19 National Champs and many times our favourite round of National Trophy Series (along with Ardingly), Cyclopark in Kent is a banger of a venue. This year we are being treated to a similar (but slightly tweaked) course featuring all your favourite sections. Round 8 sign up is here!
The venue will also be used for the Regional Cyclo-Cross Championships on the 8th of December so it’s a great way to get your lines dialled in for the Nationals or to just enjoy a Sunday’s racing.
East Brighton Park
Last time at East Brighton we were treated to some super close battles after the races fractured into small groups. The terraced sports fields and off-camber banks created a classic London League Cyclocross course and thrilled spectators across all categories.
Think fast grassy racing a bit like the old Happy Valley venue that was well loved over the years. On that note, please follow parking signs carefully and don’t get caught parking on verges as you’re sure to be fined – use BN2 5PB for the Sat Nav and then follow signs. Sign up here for round 3 of the Sussex League and round 9 of the LDN and SE Cyclocross League
The grand finale of the Sussex League and a castle to rival Leeds! A fantastic new venue for the LDN and SE League where the best three out of four results will be totaled up and presented after the race in the venue’s beautiful cafe, known as The Hub. The course has had input from various local riders and racers and it’s sure to be a belter – It features a flat start, before heading up a killer gravel climb to the top of the orchard. Riders then descend back down through the apple trees before heading back to the Hub via classic grassy off-camber twists and turns. Then all in view of the cafe riders complete the tight twisty kids course before heading back out for another lap. Make sure to check out the Christmas market and stick around for the prize giving.
In Flanders beware of riding to anywhere with the word “berg” in the place name – In France watch out for “Mont” and in the Netherlands “muur” can spell trouble,… No prizes then for guessing which bit of the name Somerhill, London Leaguers should be fearful of. Glen from Southborough Wheelers tells us, “last year we were so proud of the race we put on that we’ve had to think hard to improve upon it, but we’re looking forward to showing everyone some great new surprises. We’ve had amazing support from the School that owns the land and I think we’ve upped the fun and removed the slog!”
The updated course features a tarmac start, several tricky off-camber sections, a faster descent and a finish at the top of ‘Tullett’s Turret’ – The Schools at Somerhill’s steepest ramp. This has been nicknamed by Southborough Wheelers’ Youth cyclo-cross riders after Ben and Dan Tullett helped us design the great course that loops around the stunning Kent School grounds. There are elements of Leeds Castle, a bit of Penshurst and a sprinkling of Stanmer Park. Entry for the last pre-Christmas cross is here!
If you love it fast and grassy then this one’s for you! Bexley is a brute of a course which is guaranteed to find out everybodies weeknesses. Who’s been training hard over the Winter? This is where we find out!
Sign up here for the grand finale of the LDN and SE League. It’s sure to be a brilliant final fight between anyone who can still make up those last few places for either a podium or just for bragging rights over your mates!
Redbridge/Hog Hill features tricky mountain bike style switchbacks and fast down hills, usually some boggy sections and some flat out grassy sprints. It’s a great test for any rider and you’ll need to fit your climbing legs to be sure of a good result. Easy to access, use IG6 3HP for the carpark and please squeeze up considerately to allow the maximum amount of cars to park.